Excel 2008 blank sheet--how to fight it?

Posted:
in Mac Software edited January 2014
Excel opens up a gigantic size blank document anytime I launch it. I gather there is no way to disable it giving me a (useless) blank document. But is there a way to not make the stupid document take up 90% of my screen??



Thanks!

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 17
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by GeorgeK View Post


    Excel opens up a gigantic size blank document anytime I launch it. I gather there is no way to disable it giving me a (useless) blank document. But is there a way to not make the stupid document take up 90% of my screen??



    Thanks!



    Hi George,

    The default worksheet works in the same way as Word, PowerPoint, TextEdit, and other applications to provide a starting document, but there are some preferences you can set to get a different startup experience.



    If you are generally working on a key workbook or set of workbooks at any one time, you can have these files open automatically each time you launch Excel. Go to Excel->Preferences, to the General preferences, and find the setting, "At startup, open all files in:". Click the Choose button and you can select a file folder. All the documents in the folder that Excel can parse will open each time you launch, so be aware that text files, all workbooks, and other files will be opened.



    Another change you could make is in the same preference panel. If you turn on the checkbox for "Open Project Gallery when application opens", then the Project Gallery window will open first thing when you launch Excel, and you can access recently used files in the "Recent" tab, open a new file from a template, or use the "Open Other..." button to choose a file to open.
  • Reply 2 of 17
    backtomacbacktomac Posts: 4,579member
    ^^^^



    Good to see someone from MS here at the AI forums.



    I know that there is a forum poster at Ars that works in the MacBu and he's quite helpful over there.
  • Reply 3 of 17
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,430moderator
    Derek Snook (if indeed that is your real name ), it's very nice to have you here with your support. For others interested, the post came from Microsoft's network.



    One thing I've always wondered is how the Mac version of Office runs so much slower than the Windows counterpart? Is this Apple's fault or just legacy code holding it down? Word in Office 2003 for Windows opens almost before you finish double-clicking and buttons, spell-checking etc are very responsive.



    Check these videos:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hfK9qV4Pa3U

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TjVi5VGVLWE



    The first is Office 2003 on an Asus Eee PC, very low end hardware. Look at 1:31 where they launch the app. 2 seconds tops.

    The second video is Office 2008 on a Mac. Check the video at 0:32. It takes 12 seconds to become usable. This video also shows Excel screen usage at startup - I'd expect it to open to a single page but I can't say it bothers me that much.



    Concerning the speed issue, I know the latest updates to Office improved the launch time, but it's still a lot slower than Windows Office. Spell-checking lags considerably. OpenOffice is like this too though. There must be something to make these apps faster.



    Is there a reason why Office 2008 for Mac can't have a mode like TextEdit? Just a simple Word compatible editor that is very lean and fast and opens in under 1 second. I usually find that's all people want. Normal office work is dealing with fairly small, minimally formatted files. Waiting on the bouncing and slow opens/saves is tedious. This is on Core 2 Duo processors with 1GB+ Ram, not old hardware.



    People have been bothered by Excel's performance issues too. There was a thread a while back, not sure if this was fixed. I think rather than focus on features such as galleries and interface improvements, just making optimized versions of Word and Excel would be very welcome.



    I actually know someone who literally was in tears coming from Office for Windows to Office on the Mac as their entire workflow depended on it. I know women can be emotional but it's completely understandable when you compare the two side by side. It shouldn't be the case that I can run Parallels with Office 2003 and get the job done faster than with Office 2008 for Mac native.
  • Reply 4 of 17
    Derek sure is game to admit being from Microsoft around here!!!
  • Reply 5 of 17
    Hi backtomac, Marvin and s.metcalf,



    Yes this is my real name I've worked at MacBU for 9 years, and I am the program manager for OfficeArt, the shared drawing and graphics engine used in Office.



    Marvin, thanks for the feedback. Performance is something we take seriously. We use automated and manual tests, and code review and instrumentation, to help evaluate and analyze possible bottlenecks or opportunities for optimization.



    There are some things that Office does at first boot or when system resources have changed. Subsequent boots should be significantly faster, though it can vary (like for any app) based on your environment. I can't speak to the configuration in the video, but that might be why Excel and PowerPoint launch faster than Word, which is the first to boot. But beyond this I think your feedback is that we should continue to investigate improvements to boot time and overall performance, which is feedback our team is listening to.
  • Reply 6 of 17
    Yeah if she uses word all day can't imagine why she needs to relaunch it all the time and relaunches are much quicker, though I assumed this was because of OS X's intelligent memory management/caching and not the app itself as it's the case with any app that relaunches are much quicker.



    My biggest pet peeve though is: when copying from an external app, I always want to paste it as unformatted text, but this involves the time consuming task of going to the menu each time selecting paste special, selecting unformatted text and then clicking paste. I never want to paste as anything BUT unformatted, why can't this be made the default or at least give you the option of making it the default paste method? Also, Word keeps replacing the standard two spaces after a full stop (I think you call it Period for some strange reason) with just one space when I cut and paste sentences. Also word seems to assume I want to select the space/return/tab after a sentence full stop and it's time consuming to force it not to Sorry but the list of complaints could go on and on...
  • Reply 7 of 17
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,430moderator
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Derek Snook [Microsoft] View Post


    There are some things that Office does at first boot or when system resources have changed. Subsequent boots should be significantly faster, though it can vary (like for any app) based on your environment.



    Sure but Office apps for Windows launch like that from a clean boot every time. Perhaps it caches stuff when the OS launches like it will with IE. The overall performance feels slower too - perhaps some sort of hardware accelerated text rendering will help out like maybe Core Text in Snow Leopard if it's improved enough. The API in Leopard might be a bit too underdeveloped for Office.



    Part of the general slow-down could be the font anti-aliasing as Windows doesn't do this system-wide by default. Pages in iwork can be slow too so it's not limited to Office. It makes me wonder if there's just something about Apple's APIs that makes things feel a bit sluggish.



    I noticed that Office 2008 has fairly high Ram usage though. Just opening Word with a default document uses over 150MB Ram. Like I say, most of the time people I work with use Office for basic text only so little more than what TextEdit would be used for and TextEdit uses under 10MB with a default document. The reason TextEdit isn't used is low compatibility with Word formats and lack of flexible formatting when it's needed.



    Even a separate version of Word like Word lite, maybe even as a system library so that 3rd party apps, even TextEdit can use the component to render Word documents. Maybe license it to Apple so they can bundle it with the OS. Even Safari could open Word files inline using it without downloading like you can with PDF. So many times, I find people have a need to display online forms that are completely flexible with an editor and PDF just doesn't work for this because apps keep flattening the files.



    There would be limits to the formatting so you could lock down certain graphics from being edited but remote Word files could make the whole process of online forms much easier. I have developed content management systems and it's just not that feasible to give people form editing ability. But having an online Word facility where they could submit a document they make in Word that can have parts edited inside a browser and parsed for entry in a database would be very useful.



    Linux users likely wouldn't be able to use it natively but they can use a VM or something. There are other proprietary options out there but they aren't as standardized as Word is.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Derek Snook [Microsoft] View Post


    But beyond this I think your feedback is that we should continue to investigate improvements to boot time and overall performance, which is feedback our team is listening to.



    That's good to know, I think it's a common misconception among both consumers and companies that features/quantity alone sells new products. Vista has new features but the performance and compatibility put people off as those are the number one priorities.



    Same with Snow Leopard. I'll buy it for GPU computing and multi-threading improvements alone. I don't care if it's exactly like Leopard. If Office 2009 came out twice as fast as 2008 and maybe had a few tweaks here and there, I think people would still buy it.



    One improvement I can think of is the panel layout. I know a lot of apps do the floating panel including Apple's apps but I find it difficult to manage in Word. I think a sidebar works much better. It just has to be visible on the frontmost window. Just put all the tools in there.with a scrolbar. The scrollbar gets round the problem where opening too many property tabs goes beyond what your screen can manage. Preview has this kind of sidebar but it's used for thumbnails and it's visible on every window.



    Either that or being able to open documents in tabs. This way the properties palette also doesn't overlap the main windows. You'd still need to open multiple windows for comparisons but like in browsers, tabs are used more often.



    A vertical list would work actually like what editors like SubEthEdit, TextWrangler/BBEdit use. A 3 column setup. Left sidebar = open documents, middle area is active document, right sidebar = document palette, top = toolbar.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by s.metcalf


    Yeah if she uses word all day can't imagine why she needs to relaunch it all the time and relaunches are much quicker, though I assumed this was because of OS X's intelligent memory management/caching and not the app itself as it's the case with any app that relaunches are much quicker.



    The launching was one part of it but during the course of the day, OS X reassigns system resources so when you go back, it can be slow a number of times during the course of a working day. The office machines are mainly laptops and Minis so the 5400rpm drives won't help when the Ram usage is high and the VM system is churning away.
  • Reply 8 of 17
    This only solves the problem the first time. As soon as you close the spreadsheet you've worked on, up pops another gargantuan blank sheet.
  • Reply 9 of 17
    Hi Derek. What's up with Ballmer laughing in the face of Mac users because they "don't have the full version of Office"?



    There seems to be a disconnect between MS and the MacBU. Any person that has heard Ballmer say this (luckily for MS, not many) would be totally put off by Ballmer's comment and begin to steer clear of MS's Mac products.
  • Reply 10 of 17
    So I'm writing a report in Word and have become so overwhelmed with frustration I find it necessary to unload on here. You have been warned!



    Firstly, because of the unintuitive nature of pretty much any Microsoft product, and the usually unhelpful help files, I resorted to searching Microsoft's online help for Office, only to be told I couldn't access it unless I accepted their torrent of cookies no doubt designed to collect all sorts of information about me. Strike one.



    Secondly, why is it necessary to adopt styles to create a table of contents? Styles just screw with the formatting and tell me how I want something formatted not the other way around. It takes forever to set up a suite of styles that match the formatting you want (which will vary with each document). How many people actually use them without making their document look like rubbish? I've always tried to avoid any kind of formatting office tries to shove down my throat but in some cases you are forced to take it in order to use certain features. Strike two.



    Creating an index, should be a fairly simple and automated process. Apparently not. Apparently I have to manually go through the entire document selecting each individual word that I want added to the index, press a FOUR KEY-COMBINATION and accept a dialog box before it's added as an index reference....Yeah like how many people are going to bother to do that for a large document???? Stike three.



    You could access an offline Dictionary in Office 2004. In Office 2008 the dictionary is online only, despite saying the contrary in the help files. Strike four.



    Why can't I see any images in either Draft or Print layout??? Strike five!



    There are consistently display issues with drawing the text on-screen. Strike six!



    Don't even get me started on Excel!!!....



    And people wonder why we hate Microsoft...
  • Reply 11 of 17
    Keynote blows PowerPoint out of the water! Hopefully with the next iWork update Pages and Numbers will start to bridge the gap. I'd love to be able to ditch Office completely!
  • Reply 12 of 17
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by GeorgeK View Post


    Excel opens up a gigantic size blank document anytime I launch it. I gather there is no way to disable it giving me a (useless) blank document. But is there a way to not make the stupid document take up 90% of my screen??



    Thanks!



    Yes!!!



    Here is your answer!!!



    1. Uninstall Excell

    2. Install Numbers



    DONE!!!



    Was this troubleshooting article useful for you?

    1. Yes.

    2. Yes.



    Thank you.
  • Reply 13 of 17
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Derek Snook [Microsoft] View Post


    Hi George,

    The default worksheet works in the same way as Word, PowerPoint, TextEdit, and other applications to provide a starting document, but there are some preferences you can set to get a different startup experience.



    If you are generally working on a key workbook or set of workbooks at any one time, you can have these files open automatically each time you launch Excel. Go to Excel->Preferences, to the General preferences, and find the setting, "At startup, open all files in:". Click the Choose button and you can select a file folder. All the documents in the folder that Excel can parse will open each time you launch, so be aware that text files, all workbooks, and other files will be opened.



    Another change you could make is in the same preference panel. If you turn on the checkbox for "Open Project Gallery when application opens", then the Project Gallery window will open first thing when you launch Excel, and you can access recently used files in the "Recent" tab, open a new file from a template, or use the "Open Other..." button to choose a file to open.



    Or you could try these commands:



    1. Open your applications folder

    2. Select your MS Office folder and drag it to the trash can

    3. Then do file > secure empty trash, to prevent anybody from resurrecting that garbage

    4. Then go to thepiratebay.org and freeload a copy of iWorks

    5. Install Pages, Numbers and Keynote

    6. Live happily ever after, the end.
  • Reply 14 of 17
    frank777frank777 Posts: 5,830member
    This kind of thing isn't specifically an MS problem.



    One of the most annoying things about using iWork apps (or Cocoa apps in general) is the silly generation of a new blank document every time you click on the app's icon in the dock.



    95% of the time I am going to work on a spreadsheet or text doc that I've already created.

    Having to wait and then put away the blank doc before I proceed is frustrating, and there seems to be no way to turn this nonsense off.



    It's enough to make you want to go back to Carbon apps.
  • Reply 15 of 17
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Tauron View Post


    Yes!!!



    Here is your answer!!!



    1. Uninstall Excell

    2. Install Numbers



    DONE!!!



    Was this troubleshooting article useful for you?

    1. Yes.

    2. Yes.



    Thank you.



    Numbers does the same thing... :P
  • Reply 16 of 17
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by GeorgeK View Post


    Excel opens up a gigantic size blank document anytime I launch it. I gather there is no way to disable it giving me a (useless) blank document. But is there a way to not make the stupid document take up 90% of my screen??



    Thanks!



    I'm not using 2008, but on earlier versions what you are seeing is your Personal Macro Workbook. Simply Hide the document and be done with it.



    Hope this works for you,



    Gene
  • Reply 17 of 17
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by rezwits View Post


    Numbers does the same thing... :P



    No it doesn't.



    Change the preferences to bypass it.



    Another solution is to simply create a blank doc. Make an alias of it. Put it in your dock and change the icon to Numbers icon. Voila. Launch without annoying template menu.



    Same thing with MS Excel. But the problem is Excel is microsoft so the annoyance won't end with launch.
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